Emily Batty 2017 Canadian national mountain bike championships
Emily Batty defended her elite women’s Canadian title in Canmore, Alberta. Photo: John Gibson

Emily Batty (Trek Factory) defended the Canadian women’s elite national title at the 2017 cross-country mountain bike championships in Canmore, Alberta on Saturday, July 23. It’s Batty’s third career elite women’s title. Catharine Pendrel (Clif Bar Team) of Kamloops, B.C. was second with Haley Smith (Norco Factory Racing) of Uxbridge, Ont. rounding out the podium.

The 29-year-old from Brooklin, Ont. was locked in a neck-to-neck battle with Olympic bronze medalist Pendrel on the four kilometre circuit for most of the race. As expected, Canada’s top two riders battled for victory riding together until the final lap when Batty used a climb to put distance into Pendrel who was unable to follow the attack. While the two battled out front, Smith chased solo in third a position she would hold to the line.

“It was not an easy race by any means,” Batty explained after securing her third career elite women’s title. “I rode my hardtail, and I was questioning a little bit whether that was the right choice because it is such a technical and bumpy course, but it was rocking up the climbs.”

It was that advantage Batty put to use in order to make the decisive race winning move. “Catharine didn’t make it easy; the two of us set a really high pace right from the start. I found through the course of the race that I was feeling really good. I knew I was going to put an effort in on one of the climbs at some point and I chose a spot where I felt strong and punched it.”

Batty had a strong 2016 season wearing the Canadian flag. She earned a bronze medal at the world championships, secured third overall in the World Cup standings and rode to fourth place just behind Pendrel at the 2016 Rio Olympics. In 2015 she won the gold medal at the Pan Am Games in Toronto.

Earlier in the day Roxanne Vermette (Equipe du Quebec) of St-Ferrol-les-Neiges, Que., won the junior women’s title and Jenn Jackson (AWI Racing) of Oro Medonte, Ont., won the women’s under-23 title.

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